The Wilsons for Gore

Robert Novak

10/4/2003 12:00:00 AM - Robert Novak

WASHINGTON -- On the same day in 1999 that retired diplomat Joseph Wilson was returned $1,000 of $2,000 he contributed to Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore a month earlier because it exceeded the federal limit, his CIA-employee wife gave $1,000 to Gore using a fictitious identification for herself.

In making her April 22, 1999, contribution, Valerie E. Wilson identified herself as an "analyst" with "Brewster-Jennings & Associates." No such firm is listed anywhere, but the late Brewster Jennings was president of Socony-Vacuum oil company a half-century ago. Any CIA employee working under "non-official cover" always is listed with a real firm, but never an imaginary one.

A footnote: In July when he revealed himself as author of a report commissioned by the CIA, Wilson sought a book agent. After being turned down by a prominent agent, he has now found one.


Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle ended months of speculation last week by informing close supporters that he will seek re-election for a fourth term in South Dakota next year.

Daschle's supporters are confident former Rep. John Thune will not be the Republican Senate candidate despite White House pleas for him to run. A Daschle-Thune contest is a tossup according to polls, but Daschle would be prohibitively favored against anybody else.

A footnote: According to close associates, Daschle nearly announced his candidacy for president this year but decided against it because his wife Linda, a prominent Washington lobbyist, would be subject to personal attacks.


Close associates of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, considered California's most popular political figure, say she will not challenge Arnold Schwarzenegger for a full term as governor in 2006 even if the Republican actor is elected Tuesday.

These sources also say the 70-year-old former mayor of San Francisco will seek a third Senate term in 2006, ending months of speculation on that point.

A footnote: State Atty. Gen. William Lockyer, who has been building a war chest for years, is considered the most likely Democrat to oppose Schwarzenegger in 2006 if he is elected. Lockyer was shut out of the recall election when Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante jumped in.


Behind the Democratic boycott Wednesday of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the party's leadership is at the least trying to extend debate over whether Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt should head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) well into the election year.

The committee was scheduled Wednesday to confirm Leavitt, but it could not meet when no Democrats showed up. Energy industry sources have been informed that Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle wants President Bush to put Leavitt in office through a recess appointment, once Congress adjourns -- thereby continuing through 2004 a debate that Democrats believe benefits them. Leavitt has indicated he would rather drop out than accept a recess appointment.

Holds on the Leavitt nomination have been indicated by three presidential candidates -- Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and John Edwards of North Carolina -- plus Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.


Federal Express Chairman Frederick W. Smith, who owns a minority stake in the Washington Redskins football team, held a political fund-raiser in the FedEx Suite at the owner's club level during last Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.

Washington lobbyists were solicited by Smith to contribute on behalf of his fellow Tennessean, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The requested contribution of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for political action committees would go to Frist's VOLPAC Leadership Fund, which mainly distributes money to Republican candidates around the country.

A footnote: Smith generally contributes to Republican candidates but only infrequently. He has recently given money to President Bush and Republican Sens. Frist, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and John McCain of Arizona. He contributed in 1997 and 2002 to Democratic Sen. Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina, who has announced he will not seek re-election next year.